24 July 2011

My Green Space: hornbills, helicopters and more!

Lots of exciting developments and interesting stories in the latest issue of My Green Space Issue 10 Vol 3/2011.
In the lead story Hornbill Happenings: Surprises From Nature learn more about what is happening with our Oriental pied hornbills!

A most interesting development is this effort to gain a better big picture of our natural environment.

In Aiding Conservation With A Remote-Controlled Helicopter, Rachel Lim and Collin Tong of NParks’ National Biodiversity Centre and Singapore Polytechnic’s Centre of Application in Environmental Technology developed an ingenious method of obtaining a literally helicopter view of the ecosystem!

Using the remote-controlled helicopter, a low altitude aerial survey system was adapted from a similar system used in the military to carry out surveillance. To capture the aerial images, the helicopter is mounted with a consumer grade DSLR camera with a calibrated lens. The images captured are then stitched together to obtain an aerial map of the area. This data can be then used to provide high-resolution real-time updates of the area.

The remote-controlled helicopter system can be used to monitor large biologically important coastal habitats, and coastal and marine areas affected by shipping or coastal development. Singapore’s natural habitats, such as mangroves and mudflats, are generally narrow strips. In these habitats, this system has an advantage over satellite imaging: it can capture images from a height of about 50m, which are of a high enough resolution for us to use in making accurate measurements. Also, the images taken will not be affected by cloud cover or reflections by the sun.

Why are regular surveys important? When a particular area is experiencing impacts, such as sediment movement along coastal areas, sudden changes in weather patterns or effects of development activities, surveys help to identify the possible causes and monitor changes.The data collected also provides decision makers with information on the status of these areas, and guides their approach in issues relating to biodiversity and the environment.

There's also a great introduction to the new Flora and Fauna website!
The article gives tips on how to use Flora&FaunaWeb and highlights some of its features.

The latest issue of My Green Space also has stories about nature photographer and NParks volunteer Colleen Goh and an account of an exciting day sharing Singapore's spectacular shores with Pierre-Yves Cousteau. Read also about a study to see if going outdoors can counteract myopia in children. And more about the new Tampines Eco-Green.

Read more in the latest issue of My Green Space Issue 10 Vol 3/2011.

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